Travel & travellers’ retreats

I’m a passionate independent traveller, and a writer, editor and translator of travel guides and texts for over 30 years. Latterly, as poacher-turned-gamekeeper, I run two holiday lets in the Wye Valley and Fontainebleau forest, France.


As a magazine journalist in the 80s and early 90s, I contributed feature articles on UK travel destinations and institutions (the Scottish Highlands, Hardy country, Pembrokeshire, the Lord Mayor of London…) to In Britain, published by the British Tourist Board, and British Airways’ magazine Highlife. After moving to France, I authored the travel section of the BBC’s guide- and phrase-book Get By In French in 1998 (still in print, it regularly tops my PLR borrowings!) and wrote feature articles on the Paris region for Time Out Paris.


As an editor at Thames & Hudson Ltd, I edited two volumes in the Historic Hotels series (Scotland and England) by Wendy Arnold, before joining Maxwell International Consumer Publishing as a commissioning editor, where I launched a new guest magazine for Hilton International hotels. In France, I edited the first edition of Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls’ celebrated Cadogan Guide to the South of France, and revised the 2009 edition of the Paris Top 10 guide from DK Eyewitness Travel.


My first non-fiction translation for Flammarion was Florine Asch’s delightful illustrated travel anthology, My Italian Sketchbook. Still for Flammarion, I translated Marin Montagut’s Bonjour Paris and Bonsoir Paris guides.

I’ve been a contributing translator to the excellent Louis Vuitton City Guides for over twelve years, from Saint Tropez to Seoul, Kyoto, Dubai, Paris, Venice, Rome and many more. In Louis Vuitton’s Travel Book series, I translated Mars (2021), a fictional journey by acclaimed French travel writer Sylvain Tesson.

Travellers’ retreats

Wearing my holiday let landlady’s hat (think Cissy and Ada, but a tad more raffish), I share a bolthole in SE Wales, in my old home town just above Tintern Abbey, and another 50 kms south of Paris, with travellers following the footsteps of Jan Morris, Wordsworth, Mallarmé, Cocteau, Robert Louis Stevenson, Katherine Mansfield and others (or just looking for somewhere nice to stay).

In the Wye Valley, the Courtyard Studio, on the cobbled courtyard of a Grade II* listed converted Georgian coaching inn, is an Alastair Sawday’s Special Place, and bookable direct at


In France, overlooking the Seine and the forest of Fontainebleau, 35 minutes from Paris by train, our self-contained guest apartment is on Airbnb. For boulderers, tree-bathers, wild swimmers or seekers after chateaux: Fontainebleau, Vaux-le-Vicomte and Courances are all a short drive away.

+33 6 28 37 33 24

Solo and family travels

Travelling mostly en famille, I’ve spent time in Bali, western Java, Singapore, Australia (nine weeks in a campervan with husband and boys, aged 2 and eight months), South Africa (same, a few years later – a journey across the Karoo from the Kruger Park to Capetown ), the US West Coast, Iceland, Thailand, Hong Kong, New England, Scandinavia, Ireland, Venice – numerous trips, staying everywhere from a palace on the Grand Canal to a houseboat in a boatyard on the Giudecca – and throughout Europe. I’ve lived and travelled throughout France for over thirty years, including six years in the historic heart of Toulouse.